How to Make Greek Custard Filo (Galaktoboureko)

Written by timothea xi
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How to Make Greek Custard Filo (Galaktoboureko)
Galaktoboureko should be eaten the day it is made. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Rich, flaky and decadent, the galaktoboureko is a syrupy Greek custard confection enriched with egg yolks, citrus notes and plenty of butter. Filo dough forms the basis and superstructure of this dessert, alternately called a "milk pie," which is cut into squares. Another variant on the milky treat uses kataifi, or shredded filo, which forms a kind of noodle-y birds' nest that crisps up as it bakes. Either way, you will need semolina flour and some other key ingredients.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 3 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup fine semolina or farina
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 0.227kg. filo sheets
  • 0.113kg. melted unsalted butter
  • 2 saucepans
  • Whisk
  • Bowl
  • Square baking pan
  • Pastry brush
  • Spatula
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 inch piece each of lemon and orange rind
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon

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  1. 1

    Heat the milk to just boiling in the saucepan.

  2. 2

    Whisk in the semolina and stir, lowering the heat to medium low.

  3. 3

    Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a separate bowl, using the whisk.

  4. 4

    Add a small portion of the warmed milk and semolina mixture to the egg yolks and combine before adding the yolks to the saucepan.

  5. 5

    Stir constantly over medium low until the mixture is thickened. Remove from heat and add vanilla and butter. Set aside to cool.

  6. 6

    Melt the 0.113kg. of unsalted butter and brush some of it onto the bottom and sides of the baking pan. Place an unravelled sheet of filo into the pan, followed by brushing the filo surface with more butter. Repeat for a total of about 6 sheets of filo.

  7. 7

    Pour the cooled semolina mixture into the pan, over the buttered filo sheets. Smooth out with a spatula.

  8. 8

    Cover the top of the mixture with the remaining filo sheets, buttering each sheet just as you did the previous batch.

  9. 9

    Bake at 400F for about 30 minutes. Let cool.

  10. 10

    Prepare the sugar syrup to drench the galaktoboureko. Place the 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water, lemon and orange rinds into a saucepan. Boil until the sugar is dissolved. Cool to the same temperature as the milk pie, and add the lemon juice.

  11. 11

    Pour the syrup over the pastry, until it is absorbed, or for about one hour. Cut into squares.

Tips and warnings

  • For the kataifi version of this dessert, replace the filo sheets with the shredded filo, using half for the bottom, half for the top.
  • To assist with cutting, you may wish to score the top with a knife before baking. Freeze the assembled pan for 10 minutes and lightly mark the individual portions. There should be about 12 servings.

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